2008 AFC West Preview

Kevin Sansone, Senior Stat Boy

August 20, 2008

The YFFL returns for 2008 with a look at the AFC West. After years of fierce play within the division, the Apple Eaters have proven themselves as the class of the West. Can they stay on top again this season? Kevin Sansone breaks down each team and highlights a few key players.

Team Capsules

Apple Eaters

After winning the division last year, Chris Davidson is looking for a repeat performance and a third straight postseason trip. The Eaters boast the AFC West's best quarterback (Romo), running back (Westbrook), and tight end (Winslow). A midseason intra-divisional trade brought WR Tory Holt into the mix, with the hopes of filling in for a fading Marvin Harrison. But the biggest question mark remains on former number one pick Reggie Bush, who has yet to live up to his potential. Back to back 50 point seasons are nice for utility players, but Bush should be posting 80+ points as an RB2. If Holt and Bush live up to expectations, the Eaters should cruise to the AFC title in a weak division.

Projected Record: 9-4

Burger Buddies

The Buddies-Eaters trade of 2007 not only marked the end of the Tory Holt era, but it signaled the start of the Matt Hasselbeck era in Buddie-land. Michael Vick's prison sentence and Alex Smith's injury and all-around inconsistent play led Mike to this deal, which ultimately benefitted the team. The resurgence of Randy Moss made Holt expendable, and Mike is hoping that his star wide receiver can post big numbers again in 2008. In the end though, the fate of the Buddies' season will rest on the shoulders of Larry Johnson; a player who lived up to Bobby Sansone's preseason superlative of Most Overrated player in the AFC. The Buddies lack depth in the RB position, so it is highly likely that Mike will look for support for Johnson via a trade.

Projected Record: 7-6

Market Thugs

It's hard to believe that is was only five years ago that the Market Thugs and owner Bobby Sansone were hoisting the YFFL Championship trophy above their heads. Times have changed though and the Thugs have to wonder how they will be able to compete in the AFC West. Akers, Graham, Miller, and Housh can be penciled in week to week, but after that it is a crapshoot. Bobby essentially has two important decisions to make every week: which QB to start and which skill players to fill in the lineup. It's a fact that 60% of the time Bobby starts Joey Galloway every time, but can the ageless wonder keep up with the rest of the league? Also, Ahman Green is on the block. Again. The Thugs just don't have the tools to compete for a playoff spot at this point, but with two first round picks, a solid draft could put them back on the right track.

Projected Record: 4-9

Ludke's Merry Men

The Merry Men are on the verge of a major collapse. A roster that was once scary is now seen as easily beatable week in and week out. Last year the Merry Men won seven games, despite having a -83 point differential. It's a testament to owner Steve Dugas' ability to fill out a roster that the Merry Men are able to consistently put up winning seasons. Looking at the Merry Men's roster though, you have to wonder where seven wins are going to come from in 2008. Rudi and Alexander hit the wall and are both done, leaving Willie Parker left to carry the load at running back. Boldin is solid but has no supporting cast at the wide receiver position. High hopes remain for Vernon Davis though, but a muddled QB situation in San Francisco has Steve up at night. It could be a long season for the Merry Men.

Projected Recod: 3-10

Preseason Superlatives

Division MVP

Tony Romo, Eaters

Lost amidst the great season by fellow QB Tom Brady, was the breakout season by Romo. The Eaters QB gets the nod over Randy Moss, who will most likely see his numbers dip a bit after his record breaking year.

Most Underrated

Santonio Holmes, Buddies

Holmes was passed over in the 2006 draft by multiple teams and a breakout 2007 season showed owners what they are missing. Look for Holmes to continue his upward progression as he becomes one of the elite receivers in the YFFL.

Most Overrated

Reggie Bush, Eaters

Reggie is by no means a bust yet, but Chris has to have been expecting more from the 2006 #1 pick.

Breakthrough Player

Vernon Davis, Merry Men

A strong second half of 2007 showed owner Steve Dugas what should be in store for his top pick in 2006. Davis looks ready to breakthrough, and Dugas couldn't be happier.

All-Division Team

QBTony RomoEaters
RBBrian WestbrookEaters
RBLarry JohnsonBuddies
WRRandy MossBuddies
WRTJ HoushmandzadehThugs
TEKellen WinslowEaters
KRobbie GouldMerry Men
UTSantonio HolmesBuddies